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Victor Brombert

»It was total elation to come back to Paris: a sense of great freedom and power and maturity. Here was the little schoolboy back, with the Army, in uniform. And of course I went immediately on a pilgrimage to our house, our home, our street, our playgrounds, school . But then, of course I drove right into the heart of the city and it was so easy to drive and all of Paris became not only small but accessible, it became mine.«


Victor was born in Berlin in 1923, after his family had fled the revolution in Russia during the First World War. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, the family moves again: this time to France. Paris becomes Victor’s new home. In 1941 Victor and his parents leave for New York at the very last moment – on a steamship carrying bananas.

Two years later Victor is drafted into the U.S. Army. In Camp Ritchie he is trained as an interrogator in French and German. Two days after D-Day he lands in Normandy. He fights in France and witnesses the liberation of Paris, the home of his youth. Just when he thinks that for him the war is over, he is sent to the Huertgen Forest, one of the most fierce and bloody battles of World War II.

After Germany’s capitulation he works as an interpreter and interrogator in the process of de-nazification in Germany. In the end of 1946 he leaves the army and returns to the USA. Today he is professor for French language and literature at Princeton University.